Dental Extraction Post-Care

After Tooth Extraction

  • Some bleeding is normal after your procedure. You will not be released from our office until it is observed that the extent of your post-procedural bleeding is within the range of normal and expected.  
  • To control bleeding: Keep gauze at your extraction site for the first 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment by biting together. If the bleeding still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.  Bleeding should stop within 2-4 hours following surgery.  Light oozing is normal throughout the day of surgery.  For this reason it is important to consider that a little blood mixed with a lot of spit, can look like a lot of blood. When the surgical site(s) are not visually/actively bleeding, remove the gauze and discontinue its use. Over use of gauze or talking with gauze in place can promote bleeding. If you run out of gauze, you can place a tea bag over the surgical site(s) & gently bite. The tannic acid constricts the vessels and can slow or stop bleeding. 
  • You can eat after your numbness wears off, however, it is important that you watch what foods you are eating.  Drink lots of fluids & eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. Avoid eating anything small like rice, seeds or beans that can lodge in your surgical site.  Eating soft, bland foods is ideal for the first 48 hours after surgery. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable to do so, but  
  •  After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot for 72 hours.  When the blood clot is disturbed, the vacant area in the bone where to the tooth was housed, will be open for much longer likely resulting in a painful “dry socket,” which will need follow-up care at an added expense to you.  Because these activities will disturb the blood clot, please refrain from the following for 72 hours following your extraction:
    1. Avoid chewing on the surgical site if at all possible.
    2. Do not rinse vigorously.
    3. Do not suck on straws.
    4. Do not smoke. 
    5. Do not drink alcohol.
    6. Be careful as to not poke or gouge the site while brushing/flossing .
  • Please avoid vigorous exercise including lifting and bending for at least 3-5 days. Ease back into exercise when ready. Throbbing at the surgical site is normal and will subside, but take it slow. Rest & allow your body to focus on the healing process.
  • It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing/flossing 2x daily. This will speed healing by keeping your mouth fresh & clean.
  • Pain is normal following an extraction often dependent upon the extent of your individual procedure & your unique threshold to pain. Pain can peak after 48-72 hours. 
    • Managing pain with medications:
      1. Take your first dose of pain relievers before the numbness wears off as it is ALWAYS more effective to stay ahead of pain rather than “playing catch up.”
      2. If you were not prescribed pain medication, you can rotate OTC pain relievers: acetaminophen (Tylenol) & ibuprofen (Motrin) every 4 hours to reduce swelling & discomfort if you have no personal contraindications to these medications.
      3. If you were prescribed pain medication, please follow the directions as outlined on your prescription & use with caution only as needed.  
        • Please follow all warnings associated w/ any prescribed pain meds as highlighted in the drug warnings supplied by your pharmacist as noted on the bottle as well as in any literature given with the medication.  Opioid analgesics may result in dependency.  They commonly cause severe drowsiness.  Do not operate a motor vehicle or machinery while taking opioid pain relievers.  Opioids may slow down breathing.  Mixing opioids with alcohol or certain other centrally-acting drugs heighten this effect, and could result in death.  Do not take any prescribed opioid medications if you have a previous drug dependency that you failed to disclose to your provider, if you can’t adhere to any of the warnings listed, or if any of this information makes you feel uncomfortable in taking any prescribed pain medication.  
        • Some pain meds may cause nausea in certain individuals.  For this reason, it is important to take pain medication with food.  You may also half the dose of your prescription pain med and alternate instead with an OTC pain reliever from a different drug group (meaning if your prescription pain med contains acetaminophen, then alternate with ibuprofen OR if your prescription pain med contains ibuprofen, then alternate with acetaminophen AS LONG AS THERE IS NO DRUG SPECIFIC OR PERSONAL CONTRAINDICATIONS WITH YOUR SPECIFIC HEALTH HISTORY) in order to reduce the frequency of the prescription pain med as well.  If nausea does not subside, discontinue the prescription pain medication and opt instead for OTC pain relievers.  Our office may call you in an anti-nausea medication where indicated if the prescription pain medication is required. 
  • Swelling may occur & is normal.  The worst swelling is typically within the 48-72 hours following any surgical procedure & will oftentimes begin slowly reducing following this period.  A cold compress applied in the area the first 24 hours following surgery can help reduce swelling, or you may take anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen as directed to minimize swelling.  If after 72 hours you are still experiencing muscle soreness, apply heat (towel soaked in hot water, warmed gel pack or heating pad wrapped in a towel). Practice opening and closing. It is important to keep your jaw muscles moving. Continue heat as long as you have swelling and/or muscle soreness. It is not uncommon to develop bruising on the face after oral surgery.
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic after surgery: finish it all even if symptoms start to subside prior before the end of the prescription.  
  • If sutures were placed for your particular procedure, they will either dissolve on their own within 3-10 days or you were scheduled back to have your sutures removed.  You should not touch, pull at, play with, or attempt to remove your own sutures.  Please make your sutures removal appointment so that our team can safely remove your sutures so as not to harm the surgical site, AND so that we may check the progress of your healing.
  • Small pieces of bone that surrounded the extracted tooth may work themselves out of the gum and up to the surface.  These usually shed themselves much like baby teeth, but if you have a large or sharp piece that is causing you discomfort, please call our team to schedule a time we can take a look. 
  • If pain and/or swelling are getting worse, not better, following the initial 72 hours after treatment, please contact our office by phone (270-866-4101).  Contact us by phone immediately if you are experiencing heavy bleeding, or a reaction to the medication.  Please do not contact us via social media messaging as we want your problem addressed promptly and through the correct communications.  


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